By: Aksh Gupta
Startups fail, its a fact. However, along the way while building one, we develop relationships with our co-founders, contractors, employees, vendors, customers, users, investors. These relationships will become valuable if one chooses to hit the restart button.
Especially, with co-founders, we develop a relationship that is comparable to a spousal bond. There is no shortage of references to a start-up as a baby and managing the business as a second marriage. Founding a company with others is one of the best chances in life to work with some of the most talented, creative and motivated people. So, why would anyone throw away access to that person when an idea fails.
So, here’s what I did from the beginning:
Communicate: While building the startup, I made it a point to communicate frequently. Even after the startup failed, I kept my former co-founders abreast of developments and challenges with my new business.
Fairness: Treat people fairly. This was a lesson learnt from working at a tech startup in 2009 where 9 months after working there I was cut out of a commission and equity deal as I was promised. My co-founders and I allotted equity based on multiple factors and we recorded it somewhere.
Trust: Trust is the currency used to measure business relationships. I earned my co-founders’ trust by achieving outcomes, managing the team and clients. If you are the leader in your startup, make sure the team trusts you to stay on top of the “numbers”.
Here’s how I benefited:
Neil sent an encouraging note a few weeks ago when we announced the launch of Occasion – “I am 100% certain that you will succeed.”
Tzviatko tweeted a picture of himself sporting our t-shirt.
Jivko extended credit under his personal name. Together, they bankrolled Occasion, early on.
Above all, I’ve maintained my friendships. This is how I benefited from my relationships with my former co-founders.